Bad Driving Habits That Can Damage Your Car
Many of you will remember the days of your driving lessons, your instructor would make sure that your driving was done correctly and by the book. After you pass your test and you don’t have an instructor next to you, some of your good driving habits can disappear, and the bad driving habits can creep in. It is important to try and get rid of your bad driving habits, not only for safety reasons, but some bad habits can actually be damaging to your car. We will take a look at some of these bad driving habits.
Coasting is a term used to describe the act of keeping your foot on the clutch when it is not needed. This causes the car to move without using its engine. Doing this allows the car to keep on moving whilst not in gear. The main problem with coasting is that it is dangerous. You eliminate the option of engine braking and your steering response will be negatively affected, especially on corners. As well as being dangerous it causes serious wear and tear on the brake pedals and and the engines rotar, so you are damaging your vehicle. Like everything else listed below, this is a habit that you should try to break.
Resting your hand on the gear-stick
You might think that driving with your left hand resting on the gear stick looks cool, but you are potentially causing damage to your vehicle. The gear-stick connects to a selector fork which itself is connected to a rotating collar. The selector fork is designed to only be in contact with the collar for a short period of time, but if your hand is rested on the gear-stick you will be, unbeknownst to you, applying constant pressure to the selector fork. Keeping up with this habit will cause extra wear and tear of the gearbox components. If you remember back to your driving lessons again, you should have both hands on the wheel as much as possible.
Hitting speed bumps and potholes
If you drive in the UK I am sure you are very much aware of potholes. Avoiding hitting them can be difficult, but they should be avoided where possible. The impact of hitting a pothole can cause damage to wheels, alloys and suspension springs. The same can be said for hitting speed bumps without slowing down, or mounting a kerb.
Not checking your tyres
To be road legal, the tread of your tyres needs to be a minimum of 1.6mm. It is also very important to keep on top of the pressure of your tyres. You can speed up the rate of deterioration of the tread of your tyres if they are under inflated. An over inflated tyre essentially means that less of the tyre touches the ground as the tyre can become misshapen, this causes less grip on the road. This can cause multiple problems, mostly dangerous. Over inflated tyres are more susceptible to damage.
Overloading your car
There are many reasons why you should not overload your vehicle. The main reason is it is very dangerous, it can affect the stability of your vehicle and will give you slower reactions in emergencies. Overloading is also illegal, this means you can land yourself points on your licence and a fine. This also means that if you had an accident whilst overloading, your insurance could be deemed invalid. As well as the dangers, you can also damage your vehicle by overloading. It places strain on suspension and the brakes. Your cars manual will tell you exactly how much weight your vehicle can hold, and you should stick to this. If you often keep heavy equipment in your boot, such as golf clubs, it will be good practice to only keep them in the boot when necessary.
Switching to reverse before stopping
In an automatic car if you shift from drive to reverse, or vice versa, before coming to a stop, you can cause wear and tear to the transmission. The faster you are travelling when you shift, the more damage can be done. In a manual car, you should hear that shifting to reverse too early was a bad move as you will hear a loud crunching noise.
Driving on a empty tank
If your vehicle is low on fuel it places a huge strain on the fuel pump which can cause overheating. It would be wise to try and keep your tank always at least quarter way full. The price of fuel is not exactly cheap, so it may be difficult to keep your tank topped up, but it would be even more expensive to have to replace the fuel pump in your car if it is damaged.
Revving your engine before it is warmed up
You should really let your engine sit for a couple of minutes after it starts. If you rev the engine too early it does not give the oil in your engine enough time to circulate, this can cause wear and tear. Revving whilst the engine is cold causes stress between some of the engine’s components. Leaving the engine for 1 or 2 minutes before setting off is all it needs.
Riding the brakes downhill
This is referring to the habit of dragging the brakes whilst going downhill, with the brakes being on the whole time down the hill. What should be done is dropping down to a lower gear and allow the engine to control the speed and apply some light braking. Riding the brakes all the way down a hill causes overheating and wear and tear in the brake pads and rotors. The same damage can be caused when braking too late, you should be braking with plenty of time. It goes without saying that late braking cannot be avoided in an emergency.
Flooring the accelerator in a high gear
As it turns out most of the bad habits described here can be solved by going down a gear, and this one is no different. When you are driving in a high gear and then you floor the accelerator, the engine in your car is working harder than it needs to be. This can cause wear and tear to the motor. You can avoid this by simply switching to a lower gear and letting the revs rise and switch back up a gear again. This issue will most likely occur when overtaking or when driving uphill.
Ignoring warning lights
This bad habit can cost you a lot of money. A warning light will appear on your dashboard because there is an issue with your vehicle, the sooner you get this issue sorted, the less it will cost you to fix it. Ignoring a warning light means you are potentially making an issue worse by continuing to drive, in the long run it could be much more expensive to fix it. As well as the damage you could be causing to your vehicle, it can also be really dangerous to continue to drive while your vehicle has issues that need sorting.